Sunday, 13 November 2011

Mary Tudor Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary Impact in Ireland

Mary Tudor Bloody Mary
Queen Mary I of England was better known as "Bloody Mary." Once again, a change of Monarchy in England had huge consequences for Irish history and the reign of Bloody Mary in Ireland would not prove to be an exception. Queen Mary was the only child to survive infancy and the daughter of Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. She had been a sick child, with poor eyesight, who suffered from headaches and sinus problems.

As Henry VIII did not have a male heir to the throne he wanted a divorce.  This was rejected by the Church in Rome, much to the annoyance of the King, who then abandoned the Catholic Church and set about declaring himself and his kingdom a Protestant nation.

As a result Mary was declared illegitimate, and became known as Lady Mary.  Henry then married Anne Boleyn who had a daughter called Elizabeth and as a result Mary also lost her succession to the throne as this was transferred to Elizabeth.

Bloody Mary was sent to be a lady in waiting to Elizabeth, something she despised. Mary continued to suffer from illness and was also not allowed to attend her mother's funeral which only further served to build resentment. That said, she did try to reconcile with her father and she renounced papal authority, admitted that she was illegitimate and recognised him as head of the church in his kingdom.

Anne Boleyn was beheaded and then it was Elizabeth's turn to be down graded to a Lady and have her succession revoked. Henry married Jane Seymour who died shortly after giving birth to a son called Edward. Mary became his Godmother and Mary was permitted to live in royal accommodation.

When Henry married his sixth wife, Katharine Parr she did succeed in bringing the family closer together and both Bloody Mary and Elizabeth were returned as successors to the the throne after Edward.

Henry died in 1547 and the crown passed to Edward who was only a child. As such, rule passed to a council ruled by Protestants, who attempted to establish their faith throughout the country. Edward and Mary did have disputes about religion as Mary had maintained her Catholicism throughout.

In 1553, Edward died at the age of 15 from tuberculosis. Before his death he was adamant that succession should not go to Mary. However he could not stop that unless he also stopped Elizabeth's succession to the throne due to a previous Act of Parliament. Encouraged by John Dudley, the Duke of Northumberland he agreed to that in his will. Edward and his advisors came up with a plan that he should be succeeded by Dudley's daughter in law, Lady Jane Grey, the granddaughter of Henry VIII's younger sister Mary.

Bloody Mary was called back to London, but she hesitated fearing she would be imprisoned, which then allowed Lady Jane to sit on the throne. However that only lasted for nine days, such was the unpopularity of the decision with the people. Once deposed, Mary then rode into London as the rightful Queen to much popular support, and both Grey and Dudley were imprisoned in the Tower of London.

However with the succession of a Catholic Mary to the throne, no relief came the way of the Irish.  She did restore the Catholic faith in both Ireland and England. She married Philip II of Spain and repealed laws that had established Protestantism in England and re-established Roman Catholicism.

She is noted for her persecution of Protestants in England and had many of them burned.

She also changed something that was significant in Ireland.  When a difficult or rebellious chief in Ireland had been subdued, they would typically have been replaced with a more submissive Anglo-Irish leader.  All others on the land would have remained as normal.

With the arrival of Bloody Mary, she changed this by seizing all of the lands and making it crown property and then gave it to English adventurers or undertakers as they were more popularly known.  This naturally meant that the lands had to be cleared completely of the existing Irish people.

She also confiscated many lands in Ireland including Laois and Offaly and renamed those Queens and Kings County, after herself and her husband.  She once again planted them with English settlers. The recently dispossessed Chieftains then began a guerilla war against the settlements and became known as “Tories”, from the Gaelic word meaning a pursuer.

As the English were unable to defeat the raiding of the Irish, the O'Moores and the O'Connors were called to a meeting at Mullaghmast, where they were murdered along with their families.  Walter Raleigh was one such undertaker being given many acres of land in the county of Cork.  Yet again this was a time of great death and torture in Ireland.  This type of plantation failed to work as the English who did arrive were continually harassed, and in the end many of the undertakers simply ended up allowing the Irish to live there.

Bloody Mary in Ireland had made significant changes and changed the landscape of Irish history. I would now recommend reading how the next English monarch named Irish History Elizabeth I in Ireland would yet again make changes.